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  • Wayne Chasney

Don't Judge a Book by Its Cover

Samuel said to Jesse, "Are all your sons here?" And he said, "There remains yet the youngest, but he is keeping the sheep." And Samuel said to Jesse, "Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here." (1 Samuel 16:11)


              I love the story of Samuel anointing David as Israel’s next king. You see, things had not gone well with Israel’s first king, Saul, and so God decided it was time for a coup d’etat. God sent the prophet Samuel on a secret mission to the sleepy little town of Bethlehem. God told Samuel it would be one of Jesse’s sons who would be the next king.

              Jesse had eight sons and one by one the first seven were presented to Samuel and one by one God rejected them all. Samuel asked Jesse if this was all his sons and Jesse said no, there’s still my youngest, David, but surely it can’t be him.

              Lo and behold, it was him.

              It is so hard not to judge a book by its cover. In fact, other than books recommended to me, I would say the cover is one of the main reasons I choose or do not choose any given book. Put a picture of Mt. Everest or a mountain path on the cover of a book about the history of paper clips and I will probably pick it up and start reading it.

              But that’s books. I try not to apply the same criteria to people. I’m not always successful, but I try, remembering the lesson of Samuel and David.

              After meeting Jesse’s first son, Samuel was sure he met Israel’s next king. Eliab had a great cover. He was tall and handsome and everything you look for in a king. But God said no, “for the LORD does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart."

              So, I will keep working to NOT judge a book by its cover. Even books that don’t have the sun setting over a beach might be interesting. I will also keep working NOT to judge people until I have a glimpse of what’s on their heart, even as I hope others will do the same for me.

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